Riga: The pretty city named cheapest place to visit for Christmas break | Travel News | Travel

For many people, the festive period is a signal to get away and explore parts of the world that light up and look magical at Christmas time. 

While the UK has an abundance of pretty towns and cities which radiate festivity at Christmas, one gorgeous little city in Europe has been named the cheapest place to visit for a winter break.

Riga, the capital of Latvia, has secured the first spot in the survey conducted by Post Office Travel Money Christmas Markets Barometer 2023, which compared the price of a two-night B&B stay for two in 12 European cities plus flights (or Eurostar) and five everyday costs.

The city took the top spot for value due to low-cost flights and accommodation prices rather than prices on the ground.

The second place was secured by Stockholm, Sweden and Zagreb, Croatia, in third. Vienna in Austria comes out as Europe’s most expensive festive-break destination for Britons.

This is the fifth year that Riga has been crowned as the results found that the city is 46 per cent cheaper than Vienna.

Riga’s £506 price tag is marginally lower than last year (down one per cent) and almost 10 per cent cheaper than Stockholm (£559.50) and Zagreb (£559.60), its closest competitors, the Post Office said.

The study suggested that the city’s win is “the result of low-cost flights and competitively priced accommodation rather than prices on the ground because the city was ranked only sixth cheapest for meals and drinks”.

The Christmas Market in Riga will kick off from December 3 until January 7. The Dome Square will mark the centre and will be brimming with twinkling lights and fur trees.

The city itself is actually dubbed one of Europe’s most underrated capital cities – and over the festive period it’s not hard to see why. 

The area has more than one market happening throughout December, meaning tourists will be able to pack in as much shopping as possible. 

The dates are as follows: 

  • Old Riga Christmas Market: Dec 3 – Jan 8, 2023
  • Esplanade Park Christmas Market: Novrmber 30 to Jan 1
  • Baltic Expo: December 15 to 17
  • Advent Market at Vērmane Garden: December 15 and 16

Reviewers say the markets are packed on the opening nights as locals swarm the area to watch the annual Christmas light switch-on. 

But after that, the central areas are relatively “quiet”, so it has been claimed, meaning people are not barging through crowds.

Anyone seeking to explore the Latvian culture should also head to Riga’s central market, which is also dubbed one of Europe’s largest, made up of five areas culminating as one. 

This market serves up produce from fruit and veg to locally cured meats and handmade items. 

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